Dealing with intense disagreement about beliefs
There are a variety of views on homosexuality, and that’s the truth. To be rough and general, three of these perspectives are:
Think about these as views on alcohol. One person thinks drinking is a horrible sin, another doesn’t really like drinking but loves drinkers anyway, and yet another thinks drinking is wonderful. That these viewpoints exists is a definite fact, and is probably not going to change anytime soon. What can we do about these different perspectives?
We can love one another. If we really do that, no one needs to change in order for us to do what we are supposed to be doing.
Beliefs and activities are individual decisions. When I decide to go 5 miles over the speed limit, that’s a decision I’ve made, concluding in my own mind that speeding is not a sin. You can drag out Romans 13, etc, etc…but that’s not likely to change my mind about whether speeding is wrong. Others may feel like going even 5 miles over is not acceptable, while still others may choose to drive 95 mph everywhere.
If someone has been given all the relevant facts and arguments, then the decision is theirs to make, and is no longer in our hands. And what do we do when others have made up their mind differently than we have?
We love them.
Jesus’ disciples faced far greater challenges in the first century. Around the Roman Empire, Paul was bringing slaves and slave-holders together under one roof, as equals. Paul didn’t like slavery, but it was a fact, and Paul was powerless to abolish it. What he could do, however, was testify to the underlying equality of all the people he was bringing together, convincing even slave-holders to show love and respect towards the slaves, and allowing slaves to show forgiveness to even slave-masters.
What Paul didn’t do was pretend that everybody thought the same. The slave-holders felt justified in keeping their slaves, at least for awhile. And the slaves felt justified in not being kept. Despite that, Paul said, love each other.
So today, we are bringing together people who feel homosexuality is an abomination, and those who feel it is a wonderful lifestyle. We are putting together moderates, conservatives, and liberals under one roof.
The one thing we should all be able to agree on is that we are to love. And we love, whether that person drinks, is a drug addict, wants to date in a bizarre fashion, or feels differently than we do.